I am velvety-smoothReview is BELOWI am veltely smooth, too
DVD: Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
Review Rating:   Standard  
...back to Index
20th Century Fox 
Catalog #:
...or start from scratch
1 (NTSC)

May 20, 2003



Genre: Drama / Romance  
Adrift on a rubber raft in 1944, a U.S. Marine lands on a nearly-deserted tropical island, and finds companionship and support from a nun. When Japanese soldiers suddenly arrive, their idyllic life is seriously threatened.  



Directed by:

John Huston
Screenplay by: John Huston,  John Lee Mahin
Music by: Georges Auric
Produced by: Buddy Adler,  Eugene Frenke

Deborah Kerr,  Robert Mitchum

Film Length: 106 mins
Process/Ratio: 2.35 :1
Anamorphic DVD: Yes
Languages:   English (Mono),  English (Pseudo-Stereo),  French (Mono),  Spanish (Mono)
Subtitles:   English,  Spanish
Special Features :  

Movietone Newsreels: "Tarawa: The Marine's Toughest Battle" - "King-Nimitz" and "Photoplay Movie Awards" / Theatrical trailer for "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison," plus trailers for "13 Rue Madeleine," "The Blue Max," The Desert Fox," "The Enemy Below" and "Sink the Bismarck!"

Comments :

Part of a three-picture deal with Fox, director John Huston found John Lee Mahin's adaptation of Charles Shaw's novel had solid dramatic potential. Laundered of 'dirty' sexual activities, Huston and Mahin spent several weeks formalizing a final script, and ultimately shot the film on the British isle of Tobago, as part of a British-American co-production.

Though Marlon Brando was the director's first choice - twice he declined the co-starring role - Huston's selection of Robert Mitchum, then under contract to 20th Century Fox, was a better decision. Rougher around the edges, yet possessing a more natural acting style, Mitchum plays the loyal Marine whose Marine Corps is his family, yet questions his fidelity when he discovers Kerr is a mere month away from taking her final novitiate vows.

To protect their production from a still-influential Catholic Legion of Decency, the studio engaged a Production Code censor to monitor filming, although Huston's approach to the story maintained high sexual tension without any vulgarities. "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison" is essentially a two-character piece, and remains one of Huston's best films. Though Mahin, Huston, and Kerr each received Oscar Nominations for their respective writing and acting work, the film's also a high point in Mitchum's career, showing he could do more than archetypal tough guys.

20th Century Fox's transfer is made from a decent print. The colours are stable, and while a few wide shots are a bit soft and harsh contrasts affect a few day shots, the anamorphic transfer is a major improvement over the panned and scanned TV and VHS copies, long in circulation. On the audio side, the disc comes with mono and stereo English soundtracks; though an enhanced pseudo-stereo track, the latter is quite functional, and lacks a persistent drainpipe quality that affects the English mono mix. (Curiously the French mono track, erroneously listed as stereo on the DVD menu, lacks the flaws present in the English mono mix.)

To place the film in its historical context, the DVD contains several vintage Movietone newsreels: "Tarawa: The Marine's Toughest Battle" is a beat up but informative piece on the U.S. Navy's decisive battle against the Japanese at one of the Gilbert Islands, with plenty of stock sound effects; "King-Nimitz" is an ultra-short snapshot of the seizure of the island of Saipan; and "Japs Raid Saipan" is another brief short, showing a scorched airstrip after a Japanese attack.

The last Movietone short covers the "Photoplay Movie Awards," with producer Jerry Wald, director Leo McCarey, actress Deborah Kerr, and star Rock Hudson (assisted by "hep motion picture columnist" Hedda Hopper) holding their small trophies… plus a tanned producer Robert Evans, winner, too, for his role in "The Sun Also Rises."

Fans of Huston's work might want to seek out Lawrence Grobel's lively 1989 family biography, "The Hustons," which contains a good spread on the film's physically demanding production (and a few blue anecdotes that a polite Huston omitted from his brisk autobiography).

© 2003 Mark R. Hasan

_IMDB Entry________Script Online _________Fan/Official Film site________Cast/Crew Link
_IMDB Detailed Entry_______Scripts available online ________Fan/Official Film Site__________Additional Related Sites
____Amazon.com __________Amazon.ca _________Bay Street Video_______Comparisons_
__Amazon.com info____Amazon.com info____Basy Street Video info______Compare Different Region releases_
_Soundtrack CD__________CD Review__________LP Review__________Composer Filmog.
_________Soundtrack Review_______Yes, VINYL_________Composer Filmography/Discography at Soundtrack Collector.com

Site designed for 1024 x 768 resolution, using 16M colours, and optimized for MS Explorer 6.0. KQEK Logo and All Original KQEK Art, Interviews, Profiles, and Reviews Copyright © 2001-Present by Mark R. Hasan. All Rights Reserved. Additional Review Content by Contributors 2001-Present used by Permission of Authors. Additional Art Copyrighted by Respective Owners. Reproduction of any Original KQEK Content Requires Written Permission from Copyright Holder and/or Author. Links to non-KQEK sites have been included for your convenience; KQEK is not responsible for their content nor their possible use of any pop-ups, cookies, or information gathering.